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Shock headline: Young people don’t save

by on November 11, 2014

So in the US – as summarized here in the Wall Street Journal  – a report has found that a “younger generation faces a savings deficit”.  Bonus marks for WSJ though for its hedged discussion of the “so-called millennials” – though they did still call them that but its a start!

As is often the case there is a comparison of savings across different age groups.  Though what would have been useful is some form of adjusted comparison of savings of young people now vs different times in the past and an analysis of the difference student debt is having on their attitudes and ability to save.

Interestingly CBS pick up the WSJ story and report it under the headline “Millenials face savings timebomb”.  They dive head first into the sort of generational stereotyping that we find difficult to swallow: “People in the millennial generation are known for their tech-savvy, social media-loving traits, but there’s another aspect to the group that’s not so attractive: a negative savings rate”.  Here a lack of saving has become a generational trait – not a particularly helpful conception.  Nevertheless CBS pursue this theme and go onto make a connection between lack of savings and a report on the different time that ‘generations’ spend researching technological gadgets.  There seems no attempt to unpack these rather the idea that both issues have been presented as data on generations is used to conclude that they must be indicative of generational traits.  And so the stereotyping goes on…..


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